On August 14, Dr. Nafis Sadik passed away, to our great sadness. Dr. Sadik was a proud and tireless advocate for the sexual and reproductive health, rights, freedom of choice and empowerment of women.
From 1987 to 2000, she was the Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Under her visionary leadership, the International Conference on Population and Development was organised in 1994. The conference’s final document, the so-called Cairo Programme of Action, continues to guide the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights field today. After her retirement, she was the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Asia and the Pacific. From 2001 to 2009, Dr Sadik was on the board of World Population Foundation, one of the organisations that merged into what is now Rutgers.
For many years, Dr. Nafis Sadik has drawn attention to the importance of addressing women’s needs, and of engaging women as decision-makers and drivers of development policies. As the first woman to head a major voluntary funded programme of the United Nations, UNFPA, she has shown by her own example the transformative power of female leadership. She helped the world understand that people are at the heart of development and that when we remove obstacles in their path and uphold their rights, they and their societies flourish – women in particular.
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